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2002 articles 1998 articles

'Rise and shine!': the birth of the glossy magazine

David Reed


BOTH as a field of study and as a reflective resource for the investigation of other topics, popular magazines are a sorely neglected medium. Few librarians want to keep them and an even smaller number of academics use them. Students of print culture oscillate in their affiliations between the poles of the distinctly ephemeral, the daily newspaper, and the overwhelmingly permanent, the bound book. One is touched by the glamour of power, the other is held in the thrall of time. Magazines fall between the two stools. Some that have dallied with politics - Punch, The Economist, Picture Post - are granted a position at the academic lunch table. The rest are consigned to oblivion. Such attitudes are reflected in scholastic neglect. Although popular culture now basks in the glow of student enthusiasm at a multitude of educational institutions, there seems precious little consideration of the nature of the study that will lead to a more appropriate approach to serial publications. Yet Cynthia White, in her still unsurpassed Women's Magazines 1693-1967, demonstrated how such studies could inform a broader field a generation ago.

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